ANZPT Sydney: Benson Booms into Boss Mode on Day 1a

Right at this very moment, at least a couple of hundred poker players are getting some much-needed sleep before they head into The Star for the second and final Day 1 flight of the ANZPT Sydney Main Event. It's a different story for the approximately 100 players who have just played Day 1a and survived until the bitter end, as they are only just now bagging up their chips and making their way home.


The Day 1a chip bags are going away until Saturday

The fourth stop on Season 5 of the ANZPT began around nine hours ago when 209 players started the day bright eyed and hopeful that they would make it through the night. That field is a solid showing and with a much larger contingent of players expected to descend upon The Star for tomorrow's Day 1b, it is looking like we very well may surpass last year's field of 461 players.

Plenty of recognisable faces were among the field on Day 1a, including the owners of eight of the twelve WSOP Gold Bracelets that are held by Australian poker players. These old school guns in Mel Judah, Gary Benson and Jeff Lisandro were joined at the tables by a large assembly of young guns such as Michael Fadersen, Alex Lynsky, Ricky Kroesen, Daniel Neilson, and American imports Dan Kelly, Bryan Piccioli and Jim Collopy.


Jeff Lisandro was one of three WSOP Bracelet holders here on Day 1a of ANZPT Sydney

One of the other players who partook in Day 1a was Australia's most successful female poker player, Jackie Glazier. Fresh of her victory in an omaha side event here at ANZPT Sydney, Glazier would be looking to become the first woman to win an ANZPT in the tour's history. Unfortunately that wouldn't be the case though as Glazier hit the rail late in the night. One player that shared a friendly rivalry with Glazier late on Day 1a was Sydneysider and dual APPT / ANZPT champion Grant Levy and in the end Levy would make better use of his table, surviving the night.

While Levy survived the night, he didn't manage to accumulate the monster chip stack that Toby Ryall held during the late stages of the evening. If any loyal readers of the PokerStarsBlog just got hit hard with some déjà vu, it's because twelve months ago Ryall was the chip leader on this same Day 1a of the Season 4 ANZPT Sydney Main Event. Unfortunately Ryall wasn't able to hold onto that lead though, with Australian Poker Hall of Famer and one of the aforementioned WSOP Bracelet holders, Gary Benson, storming home during the last level to finish with a 193,000-chip stack - more than good enough for the Day 1a chip lead.


ANZPT Sydney Day 1a chip leader, Gary Benson

Some of the other players who survived Day 1a and will now rest up before Saturday's Day 2 include the aforementioned Alex Lynskey, Michael Fadersen, Daniel Neilson and Dan Kelly, along with Grant Levy, Sam Capra, Adam Carlton, Martin Kozlov and plenty more. In the end it was exactly 86 players who survived Day 1a. Stay tuned to the live reporting blog for all the end-of-day chip counts to be posted as soon as they are made available.

That's all from us here on media row at The Star in Sydney. It's time to sneak in a few hours' sleep before doing it all again from midday tomorrow. Be sure to join us then for Day 1b of ANZPT Sydney and in the meantime, check out my tentative debut in the 'Nightly Notables' with Lynn Gilmartin.

Joshua Bell
@PokerStars in Sydney